The problems of articulating beingness in women's oral histories

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Based on an analysis of women’s oral histories, this article examines the problem of articulating motherhood. Despite the fact that motherhood is a primary identity, self-reflections on being mothers are circumscribed for several reasons. First, the omnipresent and ethereal nature of the mother identity makes it difficult to capture in words. Moreover, everyday routines are taken for granted and less visible unless they become problematic. Finally, activities in the public sphere are perceived as more significant and worth discussing than those performed in the private sphere. In sum, when using oral histories to document the lives of marginalized populations, it is important to consider how the subordinate position influences the content and form of the narrative.


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